January 9, 2008

Wildlife officials comb Arctic for 3,200 missing reindeer: Lost herd may present health risk to N.W.T. caribou
National Post - www.nationalpost.com
8 Jan 2008
M Leong
Area: Northwest Territories, Canada
Photo Courtesy of Mike Thomas/Yukon News

Mr. Binder, a 56-year-old Inuvik resident, arrived on Richards Island near Tuktoyaktuk where the animals live in the summer, to find them gone. The semi-domesticated herd had crossed the ice into the mainland east of Mackenzie River and scattered.The lost animals, the only reindeer herd in the Northwest Territories, have caused concern among some wildlife officials that the reindeer will mix with and potentially threaten the caribou population.

...Mr. Binder worries that the longer the reindeer mingle with the caribou, the wilder they will be. Tony Grabowski, a veteran of Yukon's conservation service, said the reindeer could spread disease to wild caribou, recalling an incident two years ago when 51 domesticated reindeers in a pen near Whitehorse had to be culled because the herd had tested positive for Johne's disease, a bacterial infection of the lower intestine.

Crow virus could enter Vt., Mass.
Bennington Banner - www.benningtonbanner.com
9 Jan 2008
A McKeever
Area: New York, USA

A reovirus is killing hundreds of crows in the Albany area, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation expects the same disease to be found in Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The virus attacks the lining of the crow's intestines and is passed through fecal matter, according to DEC Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone. The weather led to the outbreak. During the winter, crows roost in large numbers, allowing the virus to spread quickly, he said.

"It was first found a few years ago and then it kind of died out. Now, it's here with vengeance," said Stone. "I would imagine it's (in Vermont). I don't think it will stop in New York." The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife sent information to employees about the virus but has seen no evidence of it reaching Vermont, said biologist William Crenshaw of the department. "It's possible that it could come here, crows are migratory birds," said Crenshaw. "If we see dead crows, we'll know what to expect."

Widespread geese deaths at Saylorville investigated
DesMoines Register - www.desmoinesregister.com
9 Jan 2007
P Beeman
Area: Iowa, USA

State wildlife biologists expect to learn later this week what killed dozens of geese in the past week south of the Saylorville Lake dam. Lake workers have collected 80 dead Canada geese and found another 20 that show signs of serious illness, officials said. Guy Zenner, a wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the cause could be lead poisoning, a bacterial disorder called fowl cholera, or illness caused by fungi on corn the geese ate.

The die-off at Saylorville is considered a relatively minor case, Zenner said. "We haven't had a major waterfowl disease event in Iowa since the 1990s," he added. The National Wildlife Health Laboratory in Madison, Wis., is running tests on some of the geese carcasses to determine the cause of death. The lab results are expected to be available later this week.

Exotic and illegal food: Markets in China may be breeding ground for deadly viruses
The Star Online - thestar.com
9 Jan 2007
J Chaney

...But exotic wildlife and squalor have returned to the Qingping market, making health officials worried that another killer virus could emerge. “We face similar threats from other viruses and such epidemics can happen because we continue to have very crowded markets in China,” said Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong. “Even though official measures are in place, they are not faithfully followed. We are not talking about just civet cats, but all animals,” he added.

... Health inspectors found 14 frozen and one live civet cat, and 22kg of civet cat meat from 18 animals in a sweep of restaurants across the province, the People’s Daily newspaper reported earlier this year. “You can’t say something else won’t come up,” said Li Jib-heng, general specialist at the Department of Health in Taiwan.
The odds of another human catching SARS from a sick civet cat were next to none, Li said, but added a new disease could emerge from close contact with sick wild animals.
Keeping clear of wild animals could prove difficult for some locals, who are known for their eclectic palettes. Among Qingping’s cats and chickens were tiger paws, turtles, insects of myriad varieties, and bundled strips of shredded toads – some food, others medicine.

Image courtesy of the FWS Digital Library


Molecular detection of betanodavirus in wild marine fish populations in

J Vet Diagn Invest 2008;20 38-44
DK Gomez et al.

Host Susceptibility Hypothesis for Shell Disease in American Lobsters [free
full-text available]

Journal of Aquatic Animal Health. 2007;19:215–225 [Ahead of print]
MF Tlusty et al.

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